ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by A R VenkatachalapathySubscribe to A R Venkatachalapathy

Statement of Historians

Concerned at the highly vitiated atmosphere prevailing in the country, characterised by various forms of intolerance, we, as academic historians and as responsible citizens of a democracy that has greatly valued its inherited traditions of tolerance, wish to express our anguish and protest about

Cancellation of Lecture

We are deeply shocked and anguished at the cancellation of Amina Wadud’s special lecture organised by the JBAS Centre for Islamic Studies at the University of Madras on 29 July 2013 on the topic “Islam, Gender and Reform”.

C S Subramanyam

C S Subramanyam, one of the founding leaders of the Communist Party of India in the south, died a year ago. With his passing, the last link with the founding generation of communists in India has snapped. While no decent account of his life exists, this tribute is based on information the author recollects from conversations, occasional correspondence, some archival data (of the colonial government of Madras) and a reading of his publications.

In Search of Ashe

It has been almost a century since Robert William D'Escourt Ashe, acting collector of Tirunelveli, Madras Presidency, was killed by R Vanchi Aiyar, an ex-forest guard on 17 June 1911. In 1908 Ashe was stationed in Tuticorin where the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company led by V O Chidambaram Pillai was giving its British rival a run for its money. Workers, merchants and the middle class enthusiastically supported the swadeshis. Ashe was seen as playing a leading part in the government's repression of the swadeshi company and the uprising that followed made national headlines. Vanchi Aiyar who killed himself after shooting Ashe is a patriotic martyr in Tamil Nadu and many radical characters in Tamil fiction and cinema have been named after him.

The 'Classical' Language Issue

We need to remind ourselves that classical language status is not a matter for the State to decide. It is best left to scholars, even though they are not immune from politics, to identify what is classical and what is not. Further the assignation of such a status based on accepted scholarly standards to any language should not also mean the "inferiorisation" of other languages.

Dravidian Movement and Saivites 1927-1944

A R Venkatachalapathy The recent attempts portraying the dravidian movement as a brain-child of saiva vellalar intellectuals aim to discredit the movement by identifying it with the upper castes. By juxtaposing the sectarian interpretation of anti-brahminism of the saivites with the broad anti-religious and anti-patriarchal content of the self-respect agenda, this article draws attention to the wider sources of the dravidian movement.

Madras Not Benighted

Madras: Not Benighted?
A R Venkatachalapathy The National Movement in Tamil Nadu, 1905-1914: Agitational Politics and State Coercion by N Rajendran; Oxford University Press, Madras, 1994; Rs 275 (hb).

OBITUARY-A K Ramanujan

A K Ramanujan A R Venkatachalapathy A K RAMANUJAN (AKR) passed away suddenly on July 14, at Chicago. Born in Mysore into a Tamil brahmin family, AKR had, as he was fond of remarking, two mother tongues: Tamil and Kannada. For a while he taught at Madurai before he went to the University of Chicago in 1962, where he eventually became professor in The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilisations. AKR was a poet, translator, folklorist and linguist. He was equally proficient in all these vocations, but as a student of Tamil, I would like to believe that he will be chiefly remembered for his translations of classical Tamil poetry.

Of Maltova Mothers and Other Stories

Of Maltova Mothers and Other Stories MSS Pandian Anandhi S A R Venkatachalapathy Another element in his [Periyar's] rationalist message was his campaign against the oppression of women. He championed the causes of widow- remarriage, of marriages based on consent, and of women's right to divorce, to property and abortion. Pointing out that there was no Tamil word for the male counterpart of an adulteress he fumed: "the word adulteress implies man's con- cept of women as a slave, a commodity to be sold and to be hired". Periyar's demand at a conference two years ago, that no odium should be attached to a woman who desired a man other than her husband (which the Press so avidly vulgarised) as well as Periyar's advocacy of the abolition of marriage as the only way of Treeing women from enslavement, were about as radical as the views of any women's liberationist.-Passing of the January 12, 1974.

Colonial Education, Bureaucracy and a Genius

An appropriate housing finance system for a developing country like India is not a mere emulation of the finance institutions of the developed world geared towards purchase of a home. Instead, it is necessary to develop a system that addresses the various facets of housing production and upgradation process. In metropolitan areas, large 'accretions to housing stock take place through upgradation of existing dwelling units by petty landlords. With the contemplated changes in the Rent Control Act, it is quite likely that there will be an appreciable increase in such upgradation of housing stock. Studies in low income housing areas have also indicated that the demand for financing such investment is of a different nature. It would require small loan amounts with short to medium repayment periods and a flexible interest and repayment schedules. If the proposed housing finance system includes home upgradation and rehabilitation within its scope, it will be able to serve a much larger proportion of lower and middle income households.

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